Health, Journal

Stretching

Performing routine stretches at the end of the day has been a goal of mine off an on for the last few years. The fact that doing a split hasn’t necessarily been my goal could be the reason that I’ve been unsuccessful in making it a habit.

In other words, the lack of a measurable outcome could be undercutting my level of commitment. But there may be something else. I don’t see stretching as absolutely necessary. I’m sure it’s wrong to think that but the fact that there is debate hasn’t helped.

The truth is I shouldn’t care if others find stretching unnecessary. I sprained my knee in my late teens and I know that a concentrated stretch of my hamstrings decreases the tightness I feel around that knee right after a run.

Regardless of whether a good stretch is beneficial before and after a run (or any other time), I would like to be more limber for more general physical benefits. Increased flexibility–including the ability to touch my toes–and one day being able to do a split just sound appealing to me. Okay, the split less so.

I used to attend a yoga class at a YMCA with some frequency and felt better for it. However, it’s possible that I failed to achieve the kind of results that would lead to sustaining a habit. It might just be that my beginning flexibility level was so poor that even modest improvements were perceived as less than impressive.

Stretching is a goal that I plan to return to even if it’s relegated to five minutes or less at the end of each evening. If I stick with it I may find that becoming flexible is like taking on any new skill. There can be a steep learning curve but the end results are worth it.

Photo: Katee Lue

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Chapel Hill, NC. His short stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten novels and is the author of several children's books. You can learn more about him at justinmeckes.com or by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.